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Close to Half of Canadians Now Own a Smartphone

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

The Canadian population is nearing the tipping point of becoming a Smartphone majority. Key findings in Ipsos Reid's most recent study of the mobile market in Canada, show that 47% of Canadians now report using a Smartphone, a significant increase over last year, when 34% of Canadians reported using such a device. Tablet device use has also jumped with 21% of Canadians reporting use of these devices, an increase from just 10% a year ago.

"When we began tracking in 2011, the market was still relatively young. However, with time we have observed the progressive broadening of the market beyond the leading edge adopter," says Mary Beth Barbour, Senior Vice President with Ipsos Reid. "In the space of one year, we've seen significant upward momentum both in Smartphone and Tablet adoption. Tablet sales in particular, have taken off, no doubt thanks to the introduction of more affordable - and smaller - devices like the iPad Mini."

On the brand preference side of the mobile equation, there is an interesting story developing in the Canadian Smartphone market.

"Apple remains the most commonly used brand of Smartphone, but Samsung has upped its game to tie with the once dominant BlackBerry," adds Barbour. "In January 2013, iPhone use tops in at 32%, with both Samsung and BlackBerry tying at 23%. This is fantastic news for Samsung as they continue to build their brand and take a real shot at giving Apple a run for its money."

That said, after a steady decline that began to show with the January 2011 wave of Mobil-ology, consumer intentions to acquire a BlackBerry Smartphone have rebounded somewhat amid the buzz of BlackBerry 10, increasing from 29% in the Fall of 2012 to 34% in the Spring of 2013. However, the challenge posed by the increasingly popular Samsung cannot be disregarded, as nearly one-half (48%) of Canadians in the market for a Smartphone are considering that brand.

While on the Smartphone front there are a number challengers eroding Apple's market share, the brand remains the dominant force in Tablet devices, capturing 45% of the Canadian market. Despite many new players on the field, none to date have come close to Apple. But once again, Samsung is challenging BlackBerry. Samsung now claims 13% of the Canadian tablet market, while BlackBerry loses a few percentage points bringing its share to 16%.

"While heavy discounting in late 2011 essentially bought BlackBerry one-fifth of the Canadian Tablet market, it appears that the benefits from this strategy are beginning to wane, while strong and steady growth for Samsung is expected to continue," says Barbour. "That becomes evident when we asked Canadians what brand of Tablet they were considering for the future."

The study shows that while consideration of a BlackBerry Tablet is relatively close to the current market penetration (18%), consideration of a Samsung Tablet (35%) far exceeds current penetration (13%). Though not quite hitting levels of consideration enjoyed by Apple (43%), interest in Samsung is gaining, suggesting further growth on the horizon.

"It has been an interesting year for mobile device brands, indeed," concludes Barbour. "With more Canadians adopting devices, in particular Smartphones and Tablets, and companies introducing new products all the time, there is never a dull moment. Change is constant and the choices are seemingly endless! The next few months will be critical for brands like BlackBerry to stay relevant, for brands like Apple to remain on top, and for brands like Samsung to keep their momentum."

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Tags: Canada